Introduction -- By: Gregory D. Mathias
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This volume of STR is dedicated to the theme of missions and evangelism. Three of the essays were first presented at a regional meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society in the spring of 2018 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rich missiology exhibits a symphonic relationship between biblical faithfulness, theological rigor, and practical application. Each of the essays seeks to demonstrate these characteristics.
The first essay in this issue is by Bruce Little, Retired Senior Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern. In his essay, “Evangelism in a Post-Christian Society,” Little discusses the prevailing vision of reality in the West and the need for thoughtful evangelism approaches. He argues that within the current cultural climate evangelism encounters must overcome four major barriers: (1) the decline in conversation skills, (2) the loss of rational argumentation in public discourse, (3) the obsession with options, and (4) the fading sense of the sacred.
The second essay is by George Robinson, Professor of Missions and Evangelism and the Richard and Gina Headrick Chair of World Missions at Southeastern, and is a response to the first essay. In his response, Robinson employs the thoughts of Lesslie Newbigin as a counterbalance and anchor to the more philosophical ideals of Francis Schaeffer. He contends that in the current culture missionaries and evangelists need both academics and practitioners or bow ties and blue jeans.
In the third essay, Benjamin Merkle, Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern, asks the question, “Is the best translation of the Greek term πορευθέντες ‘go’ or ‘as you go?’” Merkle argues for an imperatival force behind the term, while not surrendering the main point of the Great Commission—making disciples. He maintains that translating πορευθέντες in this way directly shapes how the church engages in the Great Commission.
In the fourth essay, Matthew Bennett, Professor of Missions and Theology at Cedarville University, cautions against the use of reductionistic phrases such as “Finishing the Task.” He links phrases like this to Matthew 24:14 and asserts that using such phrases reduces the missionary task to one component. Matthew 28:18–20 demonstrates that obedience to Jesus’ command is contingent upon the full scope of making
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disciples, not just world evangelism.
The fifth essay is by Sam Martyn, Chur...
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